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Enjoy the Warmer Weather By Dr. Latasha Schraeder

We are finally starting to ease up on restrictions caused by the pandemic! Unfortunately, the last two years has caused the stress and anxiety of everyone to increase. The isolation and inability to participate in things we enjoy has taken its toll. Springtime allows us to get outside, get some fresh air, and move our bodies which are good ways to alleviate some of the tension.

Since the weather is warmer, now is a good time to “sneak” in some exercise! Outdoor activities combine fun and physical activity. Playing on the playground, walking, and sports provide opportunities to move our bodies and relieve stress and anxiety.

Create a schedule to end screen time at least an hour before bedtime. Screen time immediately before going to sleep can make it difficult to fall asleep for both adults and children. The hour before bedtime can be spent reading, listening to music, taking a bath or shower. These are all ways to let go of anxiety.

I am not advocating for no screen time. I am suggesting too much screen time is an issue. Find a balance for after-school activities including homework, screen time, family time and screen time. If your children are accustomed to unlimited screen time, it may be difficult to reduce the amount of time spent watching television or playing video games. A good way to start reducing screen time is to create a schedule. For instance, allow your students to watch television or play video games from 6:00 – 7:30 each night. The other time can be spent outdoors or playing other games. Once the expectation is set, be sure to follow through! Granted it will be hard at the beginning, but stay the course.

Finally, the local park district is a good resource for youth sporting leagues. Oftentimes, there are scholarships and/or grants available to cover the cost of registration fees. Another option to consider is your gym membership. Many memberships include exercise classes or other activities centered around physical activity at no extra cost to you. Let’s start enjoying the warmer weather!